Broadcasting Authority throws out PN complaint on Bernard Grech Insights interview on TVM

A Nationalist Party complaint over unfair treatment by PBS journalist during current affairs programme Insights was rejected by Broadcasting Authority 

Opposition leader Bernard Grech being interviewed by TVM journalist Glen Falzon on Insights
Opposition leader Bernard Grech being interviewed by TVM journalist Glen Falzon on Insights

The Broadcasting Authority has rejected the Nationalist Party’s complaint over unfair treatment towards Bernard Grech during an interview on the national broadcaster.  

In January, the PN had filed a complaint against TVM with the Broadcasting Authority (BA), claiming that journalist Glen Falzon’s questions and “behaviour” were inspired by the Labour Party’s “partisan narrative”. 

“His treatment of the Opposition leader was clear from the start, repeatedly asking him the same questions, even after they were answered clearly,” PN secretary general Francis Zammit Dimech said in the complaint. “He didn’t act the same when he interviewed the Prime Minister a week earlier.” 

In a decision published on Friday, the BA said that  Zammit Dimech and MP Karol Aquilina were called to testify in front of the board after the complaint was filed.  

Aquilina said that, as a journalist forming part of the national broadcaster’s newsroom, Falzon had the obligation to act impartially when interviewing politicians. 

In an interview with the Prime Minister a week earlier, the journalist gave him a “free hand” at talking about anything he wished, Aquilina claimed. The opposition leader on the other hand, was asked more loaded questions.  

“Even the tone and attitude of the journalist were different when questioning the two leaders,” he said.  

The Nationalist MP also said the journalist had been paid to present a government event just days after the incident. “The journalist might have already been prejudiced against the PN.” 

The PBS did not answer to the concern raised, insisting it was irrelevant to the complaint filed.  

In its decision, the BA said every journalist has a right to ask questions, even if the person being interviewed may feel uncomfortable. “In a journalistic programme like Insights, which deals with current affairs, it is difficult to have equal treatment, as ongoing developments may influence the debate.” 

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